Groupware: 3 Tips for Sifting Through Collaboration Software Suites
Collaboration and business are difficult, if not impossible, to separate. What makes effective collaboration possible without overloading hard drives and confusing your document versions? The answer is groupware.
Groupware is software that is available to assist businesses in tracking document versions that are created, edited, reedited, and finalized by various participants in various committees. These committees include upper management and even clients, and losing or confusing their input could prove catastrophic for your business.
I think the importance of good groupware is well-known, but if you search “groupware” in Google, you will find over 4 million entries, and you need to somehow be able to search for the right groupware software that will fit your business needs.
These 3 tips will help you to sift through the millions of groupware software suites currently available to businesses. Consider it your groupware essentials shopping list. Try searching through Google for these, and you will quickly knock out millions of software suites as mere distractions. Even more important is that you will find the right groupware for your business.
Groupware which includes Digital Thread Technology
When collaborating on documents with any groupware, your business will save drafts on email, on hard drives, on the desktop, on removable media, and on servers. Digital Thread technology is able to track each version, wherever it is stored, by imbedding minute tags into a file’s metadata. The technology searches the files metadata (DNA) for the tag and threads it together, in order, with the other versions.
So, when you are looking for the most recent version of your document, Digital Thread technology will find it, no matter where it is. In fact, those with whom you collaborate on some of these documents may not have Digital Thread technology, or even groupware. It doesn’t matter; Digital Thread will find it anyway.
Groupware which Includes Document Signature Software
Remember, you will create a document, and you will most likely send it by email to other members of your collaboration team, including your upline and clients. They will send their changes back to you. This process will be repeated several times. This editorial process, however, is not a clean cycle, and sometimes you will send a draft, and while waiting for a response you will remember something else you should have included and you send another draft. This too may happen multiple times.
Now put yourself in your committee members’ shoes. They open their email box, save the documents to their desktop or to a folder in order to work on them, and then they realize, they don’t know which of your drafts is the latest version. They have no idea which draft to edit and send back to you. The pile of confusing documents on their desktop is no better than a confusing pile of loose sheets of paper on your desk. Both waste time and money, both take up needed space, and both create big problems.
The Document Signature is message at the bottom of each document that either you or your collaboration partners work on. The message includes vital information, such as what is the status of the latest draft of the document you are looking for and where you can find it.
Groupware which Displays Version History
It may still be a little difficult to piece together all of the various drafts of your document, and oftentimes it is helpful to have a visual of the editorial process which the document went through. A groupware which can display a draft history will make it even easier to understand where the documents have been, when they were saved, who worked on them, what changes were made, and how they were sent.
Groupware with Version History will create a family tree of the document if you want trace the document versions. This means you will know the who’s, what’s, when’s, where’s, and how’s of every budget report, sales presentation, market research results, and anything else your company collaborates on with groupware.
In reality, after weeks, months, or even years of collaborating on reports and contracts, finding the right draft, even with some groupware packages, can be like finding a needle in a haystack. Keeping track of all of them is almost an unthinkable task. Groupware is a software meant to provide document management services to businesses, but business cannot afford to get an incomplete suite. Happy hunting.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Joe Miller is specialist in online advertising. For more information on groupware, please visit NextPage.com.